Whether you’ve just experienced your first argument in a relationship or feel like you and your partner aren’t getting along as much as usual, you might be worried that you’re headed straight toward Splitsville. But the truth is, minor arguments are a natural part of any balanced, healthy relationship. In fact, if you weren’t having a disagreement here and there, we’d be concerned about your relationship!
You see, you and your partner are two different people with different minds that have unique opinions, attitudes, and beliefs. Even if you are extremely compatible and share similar thoughts and views, you’re bound to differ every now and then—and that’s a good thing! Wouldn’t life be boring if you always agreed on the same things 100% of the time?
Now, if you’re finding yourself disagreeing with your partner more often than you’d like, then it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some healthy arguing techniques, which offer tools to help you learn how to address conflict in your relationship and have productive discussions around your disagreements.
In our guide below, we’ve listed 11 of the best ways to handle arguing in your relationship.
1. Allow Yourselves Time to Reflect
Does it seem like you’re arguing in circles without making any progress? Or are tensions starting to rise? When it feels like you’re not going to be able to have a productive argument at this moment, take a break and schedule a time to pick the conversation back up later in the day.
This helps you both calm down a bit and reflect on the other’s perspective. Maybe you’ll realize that you overreacted in the heat of the moment, or perhaps the time and space apart will allow you to better understand your partner’s perspective. What’s more, you may even find that it’s no longer such a big issue after you’ve both had time to digest what happened and mull it over.
2. Take a Timeout
There’s no place for calling each other names, cursing, or saying mean things during your disagreement. Therefore, if things are getting heated during your argument, call a timeout. This healthy arguing technique lets you both momentarily walk away from the discussion to cool down so you avoid saying anything you might regret.
Go for a walk around the block, take some deep breaths, or even meditate to ground yourself and let off some steam. But if you still feel worked up, table the conversation until you can go back to it with a clear head.
3. Actively Listen
Active listening is a major healthy arguing technique. When your partner is speaking, practice maintaining eye contact and processing their words—and the meaning behind them—before coming up with a response. When you focus more on actively listening and digesting what your partner is saying, you’ll be less focused on coming up with a quick, insensitive reply, which can come across as defensive. This respectfully shows your partner that you are engaged and interested in what they’re saying, even if you don’t fully agree.
4. Be Open to Compromise
Part of being in a loving, healthy relationship involves compromise. You both have to be willing to give a little in order to move your relationship forward, and that might mean not getting your way all the time. Perhaps the best avenue is to come to an agreement that makes you both happy, even if it’s not 100% what you originally wanted.
5. Don’t Avoid Conflict
Chances are that you and your partner don’t enjoy arguing with each other, but that doesn’t mean you should just avoid conflict or sweep your issues under the rug. Ignoring the things you don’t agree on or that make you uncomfortable talking about may actually hinder your relationship in the long run. That’s why it’s best to use healthy arguing techniques and gently breach the topic so that your relationship can continue to grow and evolve. Once you get everything out in the open, you’ll have an easier time moving forward as a couple.
6. Offer Solutions Rather Than Blame
Instead of listing out all the reasons you’re upset with your partner, try offering some solutions.
For example, rather than saying, “I’m so mad at you for forgetting to pick me up from work again tonight because it proves you don’t care about me,” you might say, “I’m hurt that you forgot to pick me up from work again. Can you put a reminder in your phone or make a note on your calendar so we can avoid this from happening again?”
This kind of approach allows you to express your emotions while providing a proactive solution that can help diffuse the argument.
7. Come from a Place of Love
Just because you and your partner aren’t seeing eye to eye doesn’t mean things need to get nasty between you two. It’s important to remember that you both love and deeply care for each other, so your disagreement shouldn’t have you feeling any differently toward one another.
When you find yourselves arguing in your relationship, try to come from a place of love. You might be annoyed or frustrated, but your love for your partner is unwavering. Practice being empathetic and compassionate and putting yourself in your partner’s shoes so that you can better understand where they’re coming from. In the same vein, encourage your partner to come to the discussion from a place of love, too, so you can mutually resolve your conflict in a kind and loving manner.
8. Learn to Apologize
A big part of learning to have healthy arguments is knowing when to own up to your mistakes and apologize for them. Sometimes, you have to put your pride aside and recognize how your actions contributed to the disagreement.
When apologizing, be sincere. Explain that you understand the role you played in the disagreement, say you’re sorry, and provide ways that you plan to prevent it from happening again. You may also want to look for ways to make it up to your partner, such as surprising them with flowers or planning a special date night.
9. Let It Go
Whether you’ve reached a compromise or decided to agree to disagree, it’s time to let it go. Don’t keep rehashing the conversation, holding it over your partner’s head, or harboring ill feelings because this will only prolong your issues and prevent you from moving on from the conflict.
That said, if you really don’t feel like the argument reached the conclusion or resolution you had hoped for, then communicate this with your partner so that you can reopen the discussion. Do so in a calm and non-confrontational manner so that you can proactively and productively get to a point where you both feel satisfied with the outcome.
10. Understand Arguments are a Part of Normal Relationships
Just because you’re having a disagreement doesn’t mean you’re on the brink of breaking up. In fact, arguments are part of any thriving relationship as long as you’re following our healthy arguing techniques. This means being kind, actively listening, compromising, and knowing when to apologize.
No, you shouldn’t be having ten arguments a day, but a disagreement here and there doesn’t have to mean the demise of your relationship.
11. Consider Therapy
If you find yourself continually arguing in your relationship, then you may want to consider working with a couples therapist. Meeting with a professional will help you and your partner determine if the degree of arguing in your relationship is considered normal. You’ll also learn more tools and healthy arguing techniques to help you overcome your differences and resolve your conflicts in a productive and loving way.